The News From St. John

Volume 13      June 2019      Issue 6

Greetings in the name of our risen Lord! 
     Mental health issues such as Depression, Manic Depression (bipolar disorder), Anxiety can be crippling--especially in the depressive state. Most cases are managed relatively easily with drug therapy. As with other depressive illnesses, the drugs carry some side effects, but most sufferers find that the comparison between the medicine's effects and the illness' effects is no comparison. If you are ‘getting by’ or believe as some heretics teach that it is a lack of faith you may be asking yourself “Is it crazy to seek help?” A psychiatrist said to me, “They come in, wondering if they're nuts. I tell them they would be nuts if they didn't look for help.” 
     We can't put historical figures "on the couch" to examine them. Still, many theologians, mental health professionals, and historians believe that such people as Luther, Churchill, and Lincoln suffered from clinical depression, and that other heroes of the past had such psychological illnesses as manic depression.
     In the past, all we've had were prayers (for believers who suffered) and some form of counseling (for anyone so afflicted). Some symptoms were eased, but not until new medications were developed did the full weight of depressive disorders begin to lift from millions of people. The newest drugs are stronger and safer than those of only a few years ago. The number of people benefitting from them has greatly increased. 
     They work well--and that's become a problem for many committed Christians. We might wonder, as some do, if our faith is really all that strong if we feel so rotten about so many things? 
     Satan and consciences warped by sin will play tricks on us. We confuse problems not of our making with sins of which we are guilty. It’s important to remember for people who have not rejected the salvation won for them by Jesus Christ, they are still baptized and God is still with them. So confess your faith and your desire to be more Christ like in all you do. Don't worry that it also takes medication to help you through your days. Few in all the Church's long history have had truly "mountain-moving" faith. Few have ever healed by direct intervention, and even fewer have called the dead back to life. 
     The Bible says that we can't save ourselves. For this, God gives the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He washes us in Baptism, comforts us by forgiving sins, and pours the holy medicine of the body and blood of Jesus Christ into us. Usually, our bodies heal themselves. Sometimes, God may intervene miraculously. But often, God provides physicians and surgeons to aid our physical healing. 
     So it is with many mental problems. The root cause may be sin, but it is often the crippling result of the original sin and the affects wrought on the world we live in rather than a specific failing of our own which causes our trouble. We are born in spiritual distress, and this is often accompanied by physical or mental ailments. We have been blessed by God with the healing of the Gospel and modern medicine, which aids our emotional healing.
     God has used doctors to help emotional paralysis, allowing people to more freely walk the road he lays out for them. When you feel guilty, examine the source of the feeling. If you've doubted God's love, put another god before Him, or sinned against another, confess your sin and enjoy his forgiveness. If this is a trick of the devil, turn to the Word to rebut his lies, rejoicing that God gives release from your affliction. Psalm 130 may be a special blessing. It begins: "Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord," and ascends to celebrate the Lord lovingly keeping his promises. God bless you in your ascent on the paths of his righteousness.

Your Servant in Christ,

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